A gift to the nation!Professor Dame Marie Bashir,
former Governor of New South Wales
A week of reading pleasure! The whole tenor of the book is so lively, full of incident, dialogue and sharp observation. It has a really admirable coherence and authority, it will change Austen scholarship forever.Penelope Nelson, author & poet. Sydney, Australia
Walker’s insightful portrait of the elder ‘Australian’ Wentworth is a major achievement, a hugely enjoyable piece of historical detection imaginatively recreates their romance.
Walker makes a very credible case for D’Arcy Wentworth as the object of Jane Austen’s passionate love.Link to whole article
Babette Smith, Historian, The Weekend Australian
A teenage Jane Austen in a passionate sexual affair? No!, no!, no!, no!, in capital letters and underlined.. She was the daughter of a parson. Getting a wedding ring on the finger came first; sex happened after that.Susannah Fullerton, President, Jane Austen Society of Australia,
quoted in The Weekend Australian.
I found Jane and D’Arcy a veritable tour de force, not only for its thesis, but also for the quality of the writing, your story telling ability, and the incredible wealth of historical information. In some ways, the relationship between Jane and D’Arcy was the least significant aspect, although, for my part, I’m totally convinced.
I especially appreciated the colorful picture of everyday life in England, Ireland, the colonies, on the high seas, and, of course, in Australia. I knew nothing of Australian history, and I’m grateful for the way you situated it within the context of everything else that was happening in the world at the time.
I was delighted by the way you let the times speak for themselves through the eyes, or words, as the case may be, of two of the most astute observers of the era: Jane, mostly, and D’Arcy. I’m in awe of your ability to find the precise quote from Jane’s work to perfectly limn the subject of each and every paragraph almost. I’ve read this technique before, and appreciated it, but have never before encountered it so seamlessly done by someone with your total recall of the artist’s work combined with your excruciatingly verified knowledge of historical fact. Actually, I don’t know how you could even do it. Having said all that, maybe the best part was the writing itself. I’ve always been a sucker for a good story, and yours was one of the best.Ralph Witcoff, Minneapolis, USA
I want you to know how much I enjoyed the Jane and D’Arcy volumes and found the Australian history really satisfying. A magnificent job!Renzo Villanova. Venice, Italy
The research and attention to detail that has gone into this project is obvious. The fact that you have the family knowledge to apply to the historical data which you have ferreted out gives the work at once a poignancy and authority. I am sure this project has taken you on a great journey – leading you to unexpected vistas and probably up some blind alleys as well. All said and done, it was a journey that had you not “picked up the gauntlet”, would not have been made and lovers of literature now and in the future would have been worse off. I think Jane Austen’s books are going to be around for a very long time and I suspect that your work will also. There is no way that I can accept this generous gift in exchange for a new battery for your clock. But I will accept it as a token of friendship between two Walkers whose paths happened to intersect for a brief moment.Lance Walker, Melbourne
I have now finished Jane and Darcy, it was a brilliant read and has educated me so much on Darcy’s life and the early years of the Colony. I was very interested in Norfolk Island and had my eyes opened at the hard treatment of the convicts. Taken from their homeland, many worked and beaten to death, the survivors built early Australia; the story about John Knatchbull and the convicts’ brutal treatment on Norfolk Island, reading the words of the priest that only death brought happiness. It was great to read about William Wentworth and the achievements he was to make in shaping Australia. Someday I hope to visit your great country.Alwyn Sinnamon, Armagh, Northern Ireland
I have really enjoyed both books. I was particularly interested in how your ancestors were so involved in the start and development of Australia, I found that incredibly interesting. I’d never read or watched anything about the beginnings, and while I knew the names of some of the Governors from streets, cities and towns around Australia, I had no idea who the people were behind the names. Really fascinating. So congratulations on two fabulous books and all the astonishing work that obviously went in to putting them together.Ruth Stockdale, York, England
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